Module Description - Introduction

Course Overview - Registration

Select Feedback (from the full Level 1 course)

This feedback is from the full Level 1 course which has been available longer and served more students. As we obtain more feedback from the Climbers Awareness class we will update this. Comments on topics not covered in this course have been omitted below.

  • The average student rating for this module, out of 10, is: 8.8
  • The percentage of students who felt all objectives were met is: 100%
  • Select Student Comments:

    • As a retired university professor I am interested in all methods of teaching and evaluation. In my opinion, this format is excellent.
    • The material was concise and reasonable.
    • Excellent overall introduction. Both to teaching style and the module.
    • The lesson kept my interest and was presented in an understandable informative way.
    • Materials were well put together and easy to follow.
    • The exercises were easily studied and applied.
    • The assessments were good.


This is the introductory module for the Climbers Avalanche Awareness Class Opens in New Windowdeveloped and supported by AlpenPro Opens in New Windowand offered here in the Avalanche Institute. This module covers some basic preliminary material, the differences between this climbers course and the full Level 1 course, and the nature of the avalanche issue from a climbers perspective.

This is basic background material and is therefore presented almost entirely as PDF notes and simple text. This is not representative of the rest of the course modules which use robust html, links for case studies, graphics, videos, and other forms of presentation. This module is also not representative in terms of interaction, again due to the nature of the material. Other modules are more likely to require use of the Dropbox, offer forums, and encourage more interaction.

Although the material in this module is basic it is important to forming a sound foundation. Much of the content was added to the full Level 1 course after the American Avalanche Association came out with their first set of guidelines. (Those were specific in terms of topics to cover, as opposed to more recent versions which are vague in this respect.) Students are often assumed to know some of this, despite the course being entirely entry level. Other topics are presumably picked up in the process of learning other topics. It was decided that the best approach, and one which would not compromise the already tight time constraints, would be to send some short basic notes to students in advance. This was done via email using pdf files, so the manner of presentation here is much the same as it was in the traditional course format.


  • Become familiar with the AlpenPro workbook formats and features
  • Understand the basic terms which describe avalanches and slabs
  • Know the elements of the avalanche triangle
  • Differentiate between objective and human factors
  • Appreciate the fact that climbing terrain is avalanche terrain
  • Understand the difference between this course and the full Level 1
  • Know what will not be covered in this course and why


This basic lesson includes these topics:

  • Basic avalanche related terms
  • The Avalanche Triangle
  • Terrain Comments
  • Climates, the Danger Scale

General Description

This course covers some very basic background information which lays the foundation for the rest of the climbing avalanche awareness class. It includes some basic terminology, quick reviews of the three main climate classifications in North America and the Danger Scale, the avalanche triangle and objective vs human factors, and a discussion of climbing terrain.

Human and technical Resources

This is a stand-alone course covering very basic material. Some links and references are included. There are no human resources available in this class, unlike others where there is often interaction and active participation by an instructor. (While the module does not require or even encourage interaction with an instructor it is certainly possible to contact one if necessary.)


There are quizzes incorporated into this course which allow students to check their understanding of the material.

Successful completion of this module requires passing all assessments.

Course material

Most of the materials included in this module are from a workbook developed and used by AlpenPro Opens in New Window. A few items are from the Avalanche Center Opens in New Window website. Links are provided to external resources where appropriate.